Oakland at Minnesota

A's recover from blown save, prevail in 11 on Norris homer

CBSSports.com wire reports

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jim Johnson struggled again. The Oakland Athletics picked up their new closer with a strong finish.

Derek Norris hit a three-run homer in the 11th inning, and the A's bounced back from another blown save by Johnson to beat the Minnesota Twins 7-4 on Wednesday.

"When someone doesn't come through the next guy comes up and fills in for him. ... It's a nice chemistry we have here for that to happen," Norris said.

Jared Burton (0-1) gave up the one-out drive by the backup catcher Norris, who went deep on Tuesday night, too. Dan Otero (1-0) got the last eight outs for the victory in relief of Johnson, who has given up seven runs, nine hits and six walks in five appearances with the A's. He's simply been falling behind in too many counts.

"Whatever he's got to do to change that he will," Norris said, adding: "He's going to go on a roll, and this isn't going to be a matter any longer I don't think."

Minnesota trailed 4-0 after a rocky first inning by Phil Hughes, who needed 40 pitches to get his first out. Jason Kubel homered in the second and Brian Dozier went deep in the eighth.

Johnson, who had 50 saves for Baltimore last season, gave up the third of four hits by Kubel to start the ninth. With the bases loaded and one out, Johnson nearly had Eduardo Escobar struck out, but a foul tip was ruled on his two-strike swing. Escobar then poked a single into to left field to cut Oakland's lead to 4-3.

A one-hop throw to third baseman Josh Donaldson nearly forced out Kurt Suzuki, who was ruled safe, and a video review ruled the call stood -- meaning there was not "clear and convincing" evidence to overturn it.

Donaldson said he closed his glove on the ball before Suzuki's foot hit. But A's manager Bob Melvin didn't waste time arguing, instead replacing Johnson with Otero.

"I just had to go get him. I didn't feel great about it, but I had to do it. Keep working to get him right," Melvin said, declining to speculate on whether Johnson's closer job was in jeopardy.

Dozier hit a sacrifice fly to right field, just deep enough for Suzuki to race home and sneak a hand onto the plate in front of the tag by Norris. Another umpire-initiated review confirmed the safe call, and the crowd of 22,973 cheered loudly when the video board provided the proof.

There was more drama before Norris came up again. Glen Perkins struck out Donaldson to end the 10th inning, and the Twins closer shouted some obscenities and pointed at Donaldson, who gestured and "started to red line," as Donaldson put it afterward. Donaldson's path to Perkins was cut off by the Twins, and after the dugouts mostly emptied the tension de-escalated.

Donaldson nearly homered during that at-bat, but the ball drifted foul. Perkins said he thought Donaldson was admiring his drive too long.

"I don't feel like I disrespected him at all. I'm up there trying to win a game for our team, and he's trying to win a game for his team. Juices are flowing," Donaldson said.

Said Perkins: "There were things that happened in that at-bat that we both could have done differently. So we'll leave it at that."

Donaldson hit an RBI double after Hughes walked the first two batters of the game. Brandon Moss tacked on a two-run single, and Alberto Callaspo added an RBI single. None of the hits were particularly hard, but the damage was done.

Hughes walked three and struck out three in five innings, with five hits surrendered. Twins starters have one win in eight turns, with a collective 6.43 ERA.

Oakland starter Jesse Chavez pitched seven smooth innings with no walks and nine strikeouts. A's starters have allowed three runs or fewer in each of their first eight games, for a 2.02 ERA.


The A's held CF Coco Crisp out again following a cortisone shot he had in his left wrist and likely will do so again on Thursday. ... The Twins honored Gardenhire before the game for his 1,000th career victory by giving him a hand-crafted humidor filled with, yep, 1,000 cigars. ... Oakland has eight straight wins over Minnesota, all with at least seven runs. ... The A's will send RHP Dan Straily (0-1, 4.50 ERA) to the mound for the series finale, and RHP Mike Pelfrey (0-1, 5.06 ERA) is set to pitch for the Twins.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
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Oakland's Josh Donaldson exchanges some words with Minnesota pitcher Glen Perkins after striking out to end the 10th inning.  (USATSI)
Oakland's Josh Donaldson exchanges some words with Minnesota pitcher Glen Perkins after striking out to end the 10th inning. (USATSI)

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Oakland Athletics
Sam Fuld, CF4100110 .182
Jed Lowrie, SS3100211 .250
Josh Donaldson, 3B5121022 .194
Brandon Moss, 1B4112001 .310
   Daric Barton, 1B0100100 .071
Yoenis Cespedes, LF5010011 .226
Alberto Callaspo, DH4121110 .462
John Jaso, C3000012 .176
   a-Derek Norris, PH-C2113001 .429
Josh Reddick, RF5000042 .103
Eric Sogard, 2B2000100 .250
   b-Nick Punto, PH-2B2000010 .167
Jesse Chavez, P0000000 .000
   Sean Doolittle, P0000000 .000
   Luke Gregerson, P0000000 .000
   Jim Johnson, P0000000 .000
   Dan Otero, P0000000 .000
a-hit into fielder's choice for Jaso in the 9th
b-struck out for Sogard in the 10th
2B - Josh Donaldson 2 (3, Hughes), Yoenis Cespedes (3, Hughes)
HR - Derek Norris (2, Burton)
RBI - Josh Donaldson (2), Brandon Moss 2 (9), Alberto Callaspo (4), Derek Norris 3 (4)
Team LOB - 5
Outfield Assists - Sam Fuld 1
DP - Donaldson-Punto-Barton
Oakland Athletics
Jesse Chavez 7611091 1.38
Sean Doolittle (H,3) 0.1211011 1.69
Luke Gregerson (H,2) 0.2000000 1.80
Jim Johnson (H,1) 0.1222200 18.90
Dan Otero (W,1-0; BS,1) 2.2300210 1.69
IBB - Mauer by Dan Otero
Pitches-Strikes - Jesse Chavez 94-65, Sean Doolittle 12-10, Luke Gregerson 5-5, Jim Johnson 27-15, Dan Otero 41-24
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jesse Chavez 7-4, Luke Gregerson 1-1, Dan Otero 4-2
Batters Faced - Jesse Chavez 26, Sean Doolittle 3, Luke Gregerson 2, Jim Johnson 5, Dan Otero 12
Minnesota Twins
Brian Dozier, 2B5112023 .152
Joe Mauer, 1B4020220 .281
Trevor Plouffe, 3B6020008 .364
Chris Colabello, DH5000013 .313
Jason Kubel, LF5241011 .462
Kurt Suzuki, C4100101 .318
Chris Herrmann, RF5010022 .200
Aaron Hicks, CF4010111 .207
Pedro Florimon, SS2000010 .091
   a-Josmil Pinto, PH1000010 .154
   Eduardo Escobar, SS2021000 .286
Phil Hughes, P0000000 .000
   Caleb Thielbar, P0000000 .000
   Anthony Swarzak, P0000000 .000
   Brian Duensing, P0000000 .000
   Glen Perkins, P0000000 .000
   Jared Burton, P0000000 .000
a-struck out for Florimon in the 8th
HR - Brian Dozier (2, Doolittle), Jason Kubel (1, J. Chavez)
SF - Brian Dozier (1)
RBI - Brian Dozier 2 (3), Jason Kubel (6), Eduardo Escobar (1)
Team LOB - 11
DP - Florimon-Mauer
Minnesota Twins
Phil Hughes 5544330 7.20
Caleb Thielbar 2000030 3.86
Anthony Swarzak 1.1000110 13.50
Brian Duensing 0.2000010 0.00
Glen Perkins 1000120 7.20
Jared Burton (L,0-1) 1233121 9.00
Pitches-Strikes - Phil Hughes 104-74, Caleb Thielbar 24-18, Anthony Swarzak 14-8, Brian Duensing 9-6, Glen Perkins 21-13, Jared Burton 26-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Phil Hughes 5-6, Anthony Swarzak 1-2, Brian Duensing 1-0
Batters Faced - Phil Hughes 22, Caleb Thielbar 6, Anthony Swarzak 5, Brian Duensing 2, Glen Perkins 4, Jared Burton 6
Game Information
Attendance - 22973
Game Time - 3:41
Temperature - 59
Umpires - Home - Victor Carapazza, First Base - Adam Hamari, Second Base - Greg Gibson, Third Base - Bill Miller